Symud i'r prif gynnwys
Cuddio Rhestr Erthyglau

1 erthygl ar y dudalen hon

Monmouthshire Assizes, continued.…


Monmouthshire Assizes, continued. and Diana Morgan was Edmund Morgan, who was a somewhat important individual in this case. He was a man wbo followed various occupations at different times. He seemed to have been a haulier, a farmer, and also a keeper of pack-horses, and he lived at various places; but his principal place of residence seemed to have been a farm called Croesllanbro,-and for distinction he would be described as Edmund Morgan, of Croesllanbro. He seemed to have lost his father at an early age, that was when be was eight or nine years of age. Edmund was baptised in the year 1733, and he died on the 28th of Jaly, 1810. He was twice married—first, to a woman named Ann, in the year 1761, and secondly to a woman named Mary. By his first marriage he had a son called William and a daughter called Diana. By his second wife, Mary, he had Mix children, and one of those children, who had now, of course, arrived at an advanced ago, would be called forward to give evidence. Severa of them, however, were dead, and he should have the benefit of reading their testimony; yet that might become a question for discus- sion hereafter, and, therefore, he would now say nothing about what those statements might have proved. A cir- cumstance which was worthy of notice was that during the lifetime of Ann, the first wife of Edmund, a consider. able acquaintance existed between them and the Graig- with and Mamhilad branch of the family, which terms of intimacy were kept up as long as the first wife, Ann, was alive. Edmund's second marriage, however, displeased the other branch of tho family, because the second wife, Mary, bad had a child before marriage, and the conse- quence was that the intimacy became less active. Edmund had a son and daughter named William and Diana, the former of whom lived at a farm at Bassalleg, and he seemed to have kept up an intimacy with the Graigwith family, and it would be proved that William Morgan, the brother of Rachel, the intestate, had more than once described William of Bassalleg, who would be his third cousin, as the heir to the property. Now William the fifth (of Bassalleg) married one Alice, and their child was Isaac, the present plaintiff, Now, he (Mr. Huddleston) would have to refer to a little of the personal history of Isaac, because it would, no doubt, be brought forward in connection with the former trial. Isaac, the son of Wil- liam, was the great great grand-child of old William Morgan the first, and he was born in the year 1800, and seemed to have lived with his friends until he was about 22. He learned the trade of a carpenter and wheelwright, which trade he practised at Bristol, where he married a person of tho 11*000 of Ann; and shortly afterwards he returned to the neighbourhood of Newport, where h& stayed until the year 1839. During that year the memor. able riots occurred at Newport, and Isaac Morgan took a considerable part in those riots, and being afraid of being included amongst a number of persons who were to be tried for that offence, he absented himself-first going to Bristol, but afterwards returning to his father's house at Bassaleg, where he lay concealed for a time, during which he was informed that his wife, whom be bad always kitherto supported, bad been guilty of immoral conduct, and he declined to support her. Proceedings were there- fore taken out against him for deserting his wife, and in consequence of those proceedings, as well as the fear of the proceedings in connection with the chartist riots, he ab- sented himself from his family without leaving any trace of his whereabouts, and went to London, and in the suburb of Clerkenwell he obtained employment as a sawyer, and there remained unknown and unrecognised, and held no communication with his friends and relations, for fear ot the prosecutions referred to. These were the circumstances which accounted for the absence of the plaintiff, and the circumstances under which he claimed to be the heir-at-law. The learned counsel then VI eat on to remark upon the circum- stances of the former trial, which he said was brought by Jacob Morgan, the son of Isaac, under the impression that his father, of whom all trace: had been lost foi 14 years, was dead-a conclusion in which be was justified, inasmuch as the law presumed where a person had not been heard of for a period of seven years that he was dead. The learned counsel further stated that Isaac knew nothing of the former trial, and was indeed only found by an acci- dental circumstance; and moreover this was so far distinct from the former trial that Jacob, and those who assisted him had withheld any assistance that be might have ren- dered in this action. After remarking that he had stated pretty nearly the histories of the two families, Mr. Huddleston proceeded to review the case of the defendant, observing that the great point which was relied upon was this: they sought to disconnect John, who was, no doubt, the son of William Morgan, by means of a deed which they put in, purporting to have been made by William Morgan, as the eldest son of William Morgan. This will was dated in July, 1741, and was afterwaras strengthened by a will of September, 1741. In the one case, the old gentleman, William Morgan, described his eldest son Williaua as his only son; in the other, he de- scribed the same son as his heir. Now, of course, that was considered a great point. It seemed that at the time old Rachel, the intestate, died, there was an iron chest at Mamhilad farm house containing a great many deeds, and no sooner had the lite passed from the body of old Rteliel- no sooner had Mr. Nicholl entered into the possession ot Pantygoitre house—than a descent was made upon Mam- hilad farm. The iron chest was taken away, and amongst the records said to have been found therein were the wiil and the deed which were produced, and the utmost that could be made of those two documents was, that old William in the deed, described his son William as his only son, whilst in the will he described him as his heir. it was quite obvious, however, that these deeds were really of no importance whatever, for as he (the learned counsel) argued, it was for the purpose of clothing the son who was about to be married to a co-heiress of a large estate with as much importance as possible; besides, it must not be forgotten that as at that time, 1739, the son John had died in disgrace at Abergavenny, the old man could say with truth that his son William was his only son and heir. After some further remarks upon the documents alluded to the learned counsel concluded his address by say tag that with the assistance of his learned friends he would undertake to satisfy the jury that Isaac Morgan was the of Rachel Morgan, the intestate. Isaac Morgan examined by Mr. Powell: I am plaintiff in this action; I. live at 13, Great Northampton-street, Clerkenwell, and have done so 14 years, my occupation being a wood sawyer; I am in my bbih year; my father's name was William Morgan, and he lived at Bwlch-y- gwyn; he was a farmer; my mother's name was Alice; recollect my grandfather, whose name was Edward Morgan; he lived when I first knew him at Creesllanbro, in the hamlet of Rogerstcne, in the parish of Bassalleg; he was a farmer, timber haulier, and kept pack horses; re- member his death; he was buried at the Senilis; don't remember my grandmother: when I was a lad, and after I left school, my grandfather used to visit father at the farm; and I accompanied him home at night; on one occasion I was frightened, and my grandfather said "you are quits a man to me; I was obliged to get my living before I was as old as you;" he also said his father had died when he was quite a boy; my grandfather was called by the old people in the neighbourhood Edward John Morgan, which means among the Welsh Edward the son of John Morgan; my grandfather's mother's name was Diana; believe my grandfather died about 1841; have heard him speak about his father, whose name he said was John Morgan, and he died when he was a young man and left three sons—Edmund, my grandfather, was eldest, William, and Walter; and William and Walter died bachelors; he said his grandfather died at Aberga- venny, and his grandmother came back to Mamhilad; my grandfather also said the two younger children came with his grandmother to Mamhilad; her own brother took one (William), and his father's sister the other, and brought him up quite the gentleman, but he turned wild, and they discarded him afterwards; the name of the sister who took Walter was Elizabeth, and she and her sister Ann were maiden ladies; he also said his mother's name was Diana Roth, and their family were woodburners, and her fore- fathers came from Denmark with Queen Anne, and they were "carrotty" complexion; also heard him say his family was the same as Graigwith and Mamhilad, and that the late Mr. Morgan, of Graigwith, and he were second cousins; the late Mr. Morgan was the same who after- wards lived at Pantygoitre my father said Mr. John Morgan, of Mamhilad, and Mr. John Morgan, of Graig- with, were first cousins of my grandfather and that they were good friends with my grandfather until he married his second wife; but after he married his second wife they did not notice him much my father also said that grandfather married his cousin as his first wife, and she was also first cousin of William Morgan, of Mamhilad, and John Morgan, Graigwith; my mother's name was Alice; I had an aunt; JDiana on my father's side who was named after ray grandmother; she married wnuara YV I;- liams, generally known as Gibbons; I have seen William Morgan tho fourth w hen I was young at my father's house, but I never saw his sisters; remember my father going to Usk once, and he was away 2} days; when he returned he said he had called at Graigwitb, upon his second cousin and aunt and they had treated him very respectably; the custom in Wales is sometimes to call cousins ''aunts;" if I called my aunt's husband uncle my son would call him uncle too; my father spoke to me several times about the succession to the property; he said that after the fourth William and the two sister?, if they had no issue, I shoull succeed to the property after him (my father), but, he added, I don't think you need trouble yourself, as I pare- say they will get married and have a family;" I remember an old tailor,named Wi.a.Thomas.who came from the Beacon, Glamorganshire, and lived about the parish of Mambilad; he once brought by father a message from Graigwith, I was present,; be said Rachel Morgan had been very ill, and had a set of false teeth, and he did not think either ot them would settle; my father replied, "if that is so my son" (meaning me) "will stand a good chance of being possessed of the property;" I lived at home 23 years, and afterwards went to Cardiff, and subsequently to Bristol, where 1 married, then returned to Newport, and con- 1 tinued there in business till 1839; I got mixed up in the chartist riots, and in consequence left Newport, and again went to Bristol for a short time; came home again and once more went to Bristol, and while there supported my wife; in consequence of a fire I was thrown out of work, and after being about some weeks went to Newport; heard something of my wife which caused mo to refuse to support her, and in consequence I was put in prison; then returned to my father, and afterwards to London; returned to Bristol for a short time, and in 1841 went to London again, and have lived there ever since, having occupied my pre- sent dwelling for H, years; after I went to London I had no connection with my wife, and had no intelligence of William Morgan or his sister; I have a son Jacob; heard two or three months before the trial that he was bringing an action; but took no steps, because I did not know the Pantygoitre was the same family as the Graig- with; had never known them living at Pantygoitre; when the trial was on I came down to Abergavenny; I was not in Monmouth during the trial, nor did I take any direct or indirect steps in the proceedings; I remained in the country several weeks, and then went back to town; some gentlemen have taken an interest in my case, and have enabled me to bring this actiou by their assistance. By the Solicitor-General: The gentlemen who assist me are not to have any tiling for doing so; they act purely philanthropic motives; I came from London alone, and at Abergavenny I met Thomas Thomas and John Ablart: and through Thomas I heard my son was trying for the property of Morgan, of Pantygoitre: he did nut know it was Morgan ot Graigwith; I stayed about a week at the Butcher's Arms, and then went to Grickhovvell: I stayed at Abergavenny until I ha 1 heard the resulr. of the trial, and then went away: I never knew anybody thtttowfted Pantygoitre property; J would not acknow- ledge to Tliomas that I was alivc when he wrote about tne tria!, and he wrote to my employer; in that letter he enclosed one to me, but I did not answer, as I knew nothing about Pantygoitre, and would not take any trouble; I came to Abergavenny, because I knew if there was some property coming to my son through me, and they had the means to get it, I could pay them back their expenses; I didn't know I had a claim to Pantygoitre; I came to Abergavenny to know the result of the trial; but I did not o to Monmouth, because I was on bad terms witn my son and my wife; I never made any inquiry what the Pantygoitre estate was—it might have been a cottage or a pig-sty for what I knew or cared my friend in Loudon, William Eade, said, if you don't go down, I will go down myself:" tbat meant to meet Thomas, at, Abergavenny, about the trial I went down partly because of tie trial, and partly because I wanted to see old friends, and to know what circumstances my children were in; I did not go nor send to Monmouth; I had nothing to do with any promissory noies to the witnesses; my uncle lIdrry was in the workhouse for se,erHl years, and John was a day labourer working on the tram-road, both being in poor circumstances; Watkin was a wheelright; Edmund, my grandfather, became reduced in circumstances, and was a poor man; I attended the ftineral of my grandfather, but I never attended the funeral of any ot the Graigwith family, nor that of my mother. Re-examined: I had nothing whatever to do with the bringing of the former action; but knew mv son could not succeed except through me, and I waited at Abergavenny to step in if the verdict went in my son's favour; 1 have no assistance from my son in bringing the present action; we are on very bad terms; it was after the second marriage that my father was reduced in circumstances. George Llewellin and Ann Richards, aged respectively 65 and 79 years, were next called, and stated that they remembered, the plaintiff's father and his grandfather, whom they had heard say they were related to the Graig- with family. These witnesses also corroborated the general points of plaintiff's evidence. Ann Evans, an old dame of 01, was next examined through the medium of her son, whose voice she said was the only one she could hear. She said she was the daughter of Edmund Morgan, by his second wife, and that John Morgan was her brother by her father's first wife—Ann White; She then went on to narrate various circum- stances within her recollection, shewing the relationship to her family of John Morgan, of Graigwith, who she said, used to come to Bassalleg, and was accustomed to cad her father cousin. Edmund Thomas, 80 years of age, said he remembered hearing Mr. Morgan, of Graigwith, say that if his children died without having a child, Shone Morgan, of Croesllan- bro, would hare the estate; remembered bearing a message at one time from Morgan of Graigwith. to Morgan of Croesllanbro, the former of whom begged him to say Mr. Morgan wanted to see his cousin; he also said that he had not seen him for ten years, because he had scolded him on the day be married at Pontypool; witness alsojieard Morgan, of Graigwith, tell his daughters to mind they did not make their wills; John Morgan had also told him tiiat his father and Shone Morgan were the also told him tuat his father and Shone Morgan were the 1 statement., especially as to the father telling the daughters not to make their wills. The following old witnesses next gave evidence of a precisely similar nature to tbe foregoing, as to conversa- tions in which Morgan, of Graigwith, acknowledged Mor- gan, of Croesllanbro, as his cousin and heir, viz:—Thomas Rosser, 74, John Rosser, 68, William Rosser, 69, Jeremiah James, and John Rowlands, 83. WEDNESDAY. Upon his Lordship taking his seat this morning, it was mentioned by Air. Huddleston that he had been informed that there was a gentleman on the jury whose family was connected with that of the defendant, and after a short discussion on the subject, it was agreed that Mr. Alfred A, Williams should leave the jury box. A witness, named Richard Phillips, aged 91 years, gave similar evidence to toe other old witnesses as to the rela- tionship between the Graigwith and the Croesllanbro families, which concluded the case on behalf of the plaintiff. The Solicitor-General, in addressing the jury for the defence, said he had hoped, after the experience of the last trial, that his friend would have been a little more cautious in what he had stated with reference to the conduct of Mr. Nicholl when Rachel Morgan, the last owner of the estate, died, in 1854. His learned.friend, acting upon the instructions he had received, stated in the commencement of his address that on the death of Rachel Morgan the Nicholl family, thinkiug themselves entitled to the property, and in order to retain the pos- session of it, placed a person upon the premises armed with pistols, in order to set at defiance any person who might claim possession of the estate. This was a conve- nient mode of introducing a case to the notice of his learned friend by those who had instructed him, and it was introduced to the jury for the purpose of producing a similar efiect upon their minds, to that produced on his own. It would certainly be a very extraordinary case that upon the death of the last owner of these large estates a gentleman in the position of the defendant should, without a shadow of title, enter upon the pro- perty, obtain possession of it, and by an armed force defend that possession; and not only so, but that pos- session should be taken, as his friend had said, about twelve o'clock at night. His friend opened the case as if there was no foundation, or right, or title, on the part of Messrs. Niehoil to the property, that they were usurpers of it, and that they claimed a title which be- longed to the plaintiff. He (the Solicitor-General) was happy to inform the jury that there were no foundations for those statements, which, from his instructions, his learned friend had repeated to them. The members of the Nicholl family would be called before them, and they would hear the mode in which they derived their title to the property, which he undertook, upon the instructions he had received, to satisfy them was rightfully descended to them; and that they had been the rightful owners, as well as the possessors, of the property since the death of Rachel Morgan, Having observed that means had been resorted to for obtaining possession of the property in question which would have been repudiated by every honest man, the learned counsel dwelt upon the way in which witnesses had been obtained to come forward to state that which was untrue, and which could not by any possibility be true. Although the investigation of this case was thorough and complete in the year 1857, when a special jury of the county came to the conclusion that the Morgans of Croesllanbro were not members of the Graigwith family, and that they had not established their right to the property, it ap- peared that some person in London, an employer of the